may not be fully aware of it yet, but on June 26, 2000, at precisely 10:19
am EDT, it came to an historic fork in the road. It was at that moment
Clinton, flanked by scientists from government and private
industry, held a press conference at the White House to announce that
science has begun to unravel the mysteries of genetic coding.
Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, and
Dr. Craig Venter, president of Celera Genomics Corporation, said that
working in competition with each other, the two organizations had reached
a point in their research where they could decipher the hereditary script
contained in the human genome, the set of instructions that defines the
human organism. The genome consists of two sets of 23 giant DNA molecules,
or chromosomes, with each set—one inherited from each parent—containing
more than three billion chemical units.
New York Times said this breakthrough is expected to revolutionize
the practice of medicine. "Biologists expect in time to develop an array
of diagnostics and treatments based on it, and tailored to individual
patients, some of which will exploit the body's own mechanisms of self-repair,"
the Times reported.
in the genome could be used in harmful ways," the Times
went on, "particularly in revealing patients' disposition to disease if
their privacy is not safeguarded."
discovery has the potential for enormous good as well as enormous harm.
What did the skies over the White House look like at the time of the announcement?
The astrological patterns overhead are highly evocative of that moment—a
true picture of mankind coming to a fork in the road.
Looking at the horoscope computed for 10:19 am, in Washington, D.C., one
is thunderstruck by the overall pattern—several of the ten planets and
the North Node of the Moon form an astrological formation known as a yod.
The yod is a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and the first letter in the
Hebrew name for God, Yahweh. The traditional name of this pattern has
been "The Finger of God." It is considered a fateful configuration, and
in birthcharts of individuals, usually indicates that somewhere in his
life the individual will face a turning point. It consists of a planet
or group of planets receiving 150 degree quincunx aspects from planets
sextile to each other. The pattern forms a Y spanning the horoscope—a
symbolic fork in the road.
It is indeed
astonishing that in announcing the genome breakthrough, the President
and the scientific researchers both referred to God in their remarks.
The President said, "Today we are learning the language in which God created
life." Dr. Collins remarked, "We have caught the first glimpses of our
instruction book, previously known only to God." Whether you believe in
a supreme deity or not, the language used at the press conference surely
evokes the feeling of an event touched by "the finger of God."
Planets in Cancer
significant part of a yod formation is the planet or planets at the apex
of the yod. In this case, there are three of them, the Sun, Mars and Venus,
all in the sign of Cancer. Mercury and the North Node are also close by
in the sign of Cancer, but they are not technically part of the yod formation.
conception, gestation and birth. The focus of this scientific effort is
to understand this life-forming process and by understanding, enhance
it. The Sun is life itself, and Venus and Mars represent the male and
female procreative urges. Mercury is our ability to comprehend. Finally,
the North Node is said to represent our path to the future.
Mars and Venus receive stressful quincunx aspects from Pluto in Sagittarius
and Neptune in Aquarius. Pluto is the urge to probe, to see deeper, to
enhance by removing what is no longer acceptable and to regenerate. This
may symbolize man's desire to create life without flaws. The other arm
of the yod is formed by Neptune. Neptune points to the urge to heal. Neptune
and Pluto are in a wide sextile to each other, completing the yod.
nature of the yod indicates that the planets at the apex of the formation—the
Cancer group—must make adjustments to the new developments and the demands
created by the aspecting planets. The way in which humanity propagates
itself may never be the same.
technically not part of the yod, Uranus, in Aquarius, the sign of science
and technology, is making a quincunx aspect to Mercury and the North Node.
Uranus is the sign that rules Aquarius, saying that technological developments
in general and genetics in particular are intensifying.
feature is the Jupiter-Saturn
conjunction in Taurus on the Midheaven of the chart. Jupiter
and Saturn meet only once every twenty years, and mark the beginning and
endings of major cycles of social change. Jupiter rules morality and Saturn
represents law and authority. Indeed, this new development will present
serious moral challenges and will call for responsible leadership and
regulation. The fact that the conjunction is in Taurus means that the
ethical and legal decisions regarding future genetic research will depend
on the values of those making the decisions. In the framework of Taurus,
the issues will center on decisions based positively on higher ethical
values or negatively on the desire of those who control the research to
make money out of it.
we come to the Moon in this horoscope. The Moon lies in Aries, the sign
of the pioneer, bravery and those not afraid to move into new frontiers.
Poetically, this Moon speaks of a brave new world—with all the wonder
and potential horror that image elicits.
In his novel
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley painted a picture of a future
society in which humans were genetically engineered to fit into the cogs
of society's wheels. Individuals were grown in laboratories—some to work
in factories, some to serve as laborers, some to work in offices. They
were perfect in their pre-selected roles, because they had been genetically
altered to fit their specific niches.
hero of that novel was a "savage" who could quote Shakespeare. He was
Huxley's reminder to us not to abandon the Earth,
the primitive and the poetic. Not to forget our humanity.
goodly creatures are there here!" Shakespeare wrote. "How beauteous mankind
is! O brave new world, that has such people in it!"